Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'

The original Somerset and Dorset Railway closed very controversially in 1966. It is time that decision, made in a very different world, was reversed. We now have many councillors, MPs, businesses and individuals living along the line supporting us. Even the Ministry of Transport supports our general aim. The New S&D was formed in 2009 with the aim of rebuilding as much of the route as possible, at the very least the main line from Bath (Britain's only World Heritage City) to Bournemouth (our premier seaside resort); as well as the branches to Wells, Glastonbury and Wimborne. We will achieve this through a mix of lobbying, trackbed purchase and restoration of sections of the route as they become economically viable. With Climate Change, road congestion, capacity constraints on the railways and now Peak Oil firmly on the agenda we are pushing against an open door. We already own Midford just south of Bath, and are restoring Spetisbury under license from DCC, but this is just the start. There are other established groups restoring stations and line at Midsomer Norton and Shillingstone, and the fabulous narrow gauge line near Templevcombe, the Gartell Railway.

There are now FIVE sites being actively restored on the S&D and this blog will follow what goes on at all of them!
Midford - Midsomer Norton - Gartell - Shillingstone - Spetisbury

Our Aim:

Our aim is to use a mix of lobbying, strategic track-bed purchase, fundraising and encouragement and support of groups already preserving sections of the route, as well as working with local and national government, local people, countryside groups and railway enthusiasts (of all types!) To restore sections of the route as they become viable.
Whilst the New S&D will primarily be a modern passenger and freight railway offering state of the art trains and services, we will also restore the infrastructure to the highest standards and encourage steam working and steam specials over all sections of the route, as well as work very closely with existing heritage lines established on the route.

This blog contains my personal views. Anything said here does not necessarily represent the aims or views of any of the groups currently restoring, preserving or operating trains over the Somerset and Dorset Railway!

Friday, August 31, 2012

shillingstone remembers the pines

This looks fun - a Pines commemorative day down at Shillingstone. Take the opportunity to see the amazing work done here over the last few years with the station restored and the signalbox and greenhouse rebuilt.

Monday, August 27, 2012

looking good!

(All pics copyright Kevin Mitchell)
The Spetisbury team are making fantastic progress down in Dorset and I suspect that it won't be that long before yet another S&D station - in its entirety - reappears. It's a difficult station to get right as there so few photos of it, but be assured we'll do everything we can to get it exactly right.
I've noticed a lot of new members joining in the Bournemouth/Poole area, I'm sure this is due to what's happening at Spetisbury!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

right lines 4

The New S&D has long held the ambition of creating a quality magazine and this is now just about to happen! Phil Marsh and Grant Henderson have formed an editorial team and the first 'real' Right Lines, number 4, will be ready in a week or so. All members will of course receive a free copy, non-members will be able to purchase it via post and Internet, it will also be available at Midford and Spetisbury on working days. Cover price is £2.

The plan is to issue two magazines each year at first, hopefully building to a quarterly in time.

trains ...

We're still a long way from scenes like the above (although every day brings it a day closer!) but there will be trains running at TWO S&D locations tomorrow - Midsomer Norton South and Gartell. The weather forecast is vile so why not spend the day productively by supporting these two great S&D sites by riding their trains?

midford at washford

We've just had a five day break at the White Horse Inn at Washford (recommended!) and travelled on the WSR. As we waited for the first train of the day a couple of the Washford S&D members were chatting to us (they'd heard of me!). I got the chance to pull a couple of the signals on site using the levers in the reconstructed Midford signalbox. I know I'm a dyed-in-the-wool modernist but I also have an interest in how things used to be done, as doubtless this will be how things will be done in an energy-constrained future. The signalbox is a credit to the members at Washford and it was a real pleasure meeting them. I also got some EXCELLENT second hand books in the sales area - way better than I've seen elsewhere.
Who knows, one day this fine exhibit may be winging its way back home to Midford ...

Friday, August 17, 2012

war games

Try to get along to the S&D at Midsomer Norton's 'Railways at War' event - on September 8 & 9, featuring WWII re-enactment shows, live (40's) music, a display of period road vehicles and 'Driver for a Fiver' (Sunday only).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

getting closer

I had to use this fantastic shot of a DMU at Midsomer Norton, August 2012. This really does highlight the amazing strides made at this iconic location and things can only get better and better from now on! This appears along with many other superb and recent shots of Midsomer Norton on the S&D Facebook group.

spetisbury today

SUNDAY 12th AUGUST 2012 - Spetisbury Station Restoration Project

Hello New S&D Member/ Volunteer,

I am aiming to be up at the station this coming Sunday. If anyone would like to come up and join the work party and keep me company, I would appreciate it. I should be there between 10 and 11am. If you are not a member of The New S&D, I can sort that out with you at the time. Those who have not been before, could I ask you to park up at the school and walk down to the station.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


The New S&D have had loads of new members join in the last few weeks, possibly as a result of the recent Steam Railway magazine article.

To those of you who have sent in cheques or paid by Paypal please accept my apologies for the delay in getting your membership cards etc to you. I will do everything I can to get them out in this coming week!

There's certainly a feeling in the air that huge changes are coming to our railways, all of them good! With new lines opening up both in the heritage and network sectors this really is beginning to feel like the great rail revival we've been forecasting for years.

So if you want to see railways and tramways spring up everywhere in response to Peak Oil and Climate Change please join (or start!) a local society or group, get involved at the grass roots level and help to make this happen. You'll learn new practical skills, make loads of new friends and inevitably form the sort of network of contacts that will stand you in good stead in the future.

These are amazing times for the railway community. You owe it to yourselves to get involved!